Back to list

Detail of contribution

Auteur: Ciro GRECO

The Hybrid Status Of Criterial Subjects: Locality Effects In Italian Wh-Questions

Abstract/Résumé: In Italian, subjects are usually forbidden between a wh-element and a main verb: (1)a.*Cosa/Quale libro Gianni ha comprato? What/Which book John has bought? b.*Dove Gianni ha comprato un libro? Where John has bought a book? c.*A chi/A quale ragazzo Gianni ha parlato? To whom/To which boy John has talked? Rizzi (1996) analyzed (1) as violations of the WH-Criterion. (2) represent a challenge: when a PP is either sub-extracted from the internal argument (2a) or extracted from a non-argumental position (2b), the subject can be pre-verbal: (2)a.Di quale città Gianni ha conosciuto il sindaco? Of which city John has met the mayor? b. In quale città Gianni ha conosciuto il sindaco? In which city John has met the mayor? We propose that the constraint on pre-verbal subjects can be explained by the interaction of two factors: (i) a wh-feature in the label of the wh-phrase (ii) the (non)argumental status of the wh-phrase. In particular, we assume the distinction between wh-headed phrases (wh-words, [DP which X]) and wh-containing phrases ([N of wh], [PP P wh])(Kotek (2012)), arguing that only the former elements bear a wh-feature, qualifying as quantificational at the interface. Rizzi (2006, 2010) argued that in Italian pre-verbal subjects are in Ā-positions (Criterial Subjects) to satisfy the Subject Criterion. Moreover, Rizzi & Schlonsky (2007) showed that the Criterial Subject is an intermediate position between A and Ā, since the Subject Criterion can be satisfied also by dummy elements (e.g. pro, expletive-like elements). We argue that Criterial Subjects are both quantificational elements (Bianchi & Chesi 2012) and argumental elements at the interface. Assuming Rizzi’s (2004) version of relativized minimality (see also Abels 2012), Criterial Subjects fall into two classes: Quantificational and Argumental. (1a-b) are then ruled out because the moved wh-(headed)-phrase is quantificational. With respect to (1b). However, it is not the case that every wh-containing phrase licenses preverbal subjects (cf. (1c)). The distribution of pre-verbal subjects in wh-constructions depends also on the argumental status (e.g. theta-marking) of the wh-phrase. We will explore the idea that argumentality is a relevant property for establishing ‘Distinctness’ conditions at the interfaces. Abels, K. 2012. in: Linguistic Inquiry, 43, 2, 2012/Bianchi, V., Chesi C. 2012. Kotek, H. 2012. pres. at The 35th GLOW colloquium, Potsdam/Rizzi, L. 1996. in Belletti and Rizzi (eds.), Oxford./Rizzi, L. 2004. in: Belletti (ed.), New York./Rizzi, L. 2006. in L.Cheng & N. Corver (eds.), MIT./Rizzi, L. 2010. In: E. Phoevos Panagiotidis (ed.), Oxford Univ. Press./Rizzi, L., Shlonsky. U. 2007. In: Gärtner & Sauerland (eds.), Mouton de Gruyter.